The Project

Woman head silhouette with environment and ecology green hand icons splash concept illustration. EPS10 vector file.

This project was born out of the seedling of an idea that Eshana Bragg had about bringing the fields of ecopsychology and the practice of activism closer together to share their gifts with each other. In her article Activist Ecopsychology, Eshana advocates the need for “ecopsychological activism” or a joining of the fields of ecopsychology and activism in order to address the pressing global environmental issues we face.  She introduces the ‘three steps to changing the world’ – Stay Awake! Connect! and Act! – and also suggests that a collaborative toolkit of ecopsychological processes is needed to help people take those steps (2014).
Our toolkit seeks to fill that gap and bring the two necessary and valuable fields of ecopsychology and activism together to help people create change in the world in a way that also brings psychological health. The idea has been incubated, reborn, and reincarnated several times by Eshana and Rachel and is now an online toolkit designed specifically for young adults to help empower, connect and motivate them/us to action.

If you would like to hear our personal stories, perspectives and journeys through the process of creating Joyality, please listen below.

  • Listen to Eshana’s story of creating Joyality here !

 

  • Listen to Rachel’s story of creating Joyality here !

The term “Joyality” was created by students of SIT’s Sustainability and Environmental Action study abroad program after experiencing an ecopsychology workshop with Eshana. It is a play on “spirituality”, acknowledging that the idea of “spirit” or “god” or the supernatural doesn’t work for everyone. At the heart of all of these is the universal human desire for purpose, for meaning, for belonging, and for joy.
The Joyality online toolkit was originally created over a period of five weeks at Foresthaven, a magical rainforest sanctuary and retreat center in Maclean, NSW, Australia as Rachel’s Independent Study Project for SIT. We give thanks to the Pitta Bird, the Kookaburras, the Eucalypt trees, and the Aboriginal Yaegl ancestors and land custodians for inspiring, guiding and protecting us through our journey of creation. We even give thanks to the mozzies 🙂

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We would also like to acknowledge the distinct Australian roots of this project. As Bragg and Reser point out in their review of ecopsychology in the Antipodes (2012), Australian ecopsychology has always been far more grounded in activism than the ecopsychology of North America, which has had more psychoanalytic and therapeutic roots. As Eshana Bragg, the original source of the idea for this toolkit is an Australian ecopsychologist, and all of our interviewees and most of our sources are Australian, we have stayed true to these Australian ecopsychological/activist roots.
This project has been inspired by many wonderful activists, ecopsychologists, ecotherapists, deep ecologists, teachers, and change makers. We would like to give a special thanks to our wonderful interviewees John Seed, Ruth Rosenheck, Niki Harre, Caresse Cranwell, and Tristan Snell. You were all an inspiration and hugely helpful in bringing this project into being. These interviews were conducted by Rachel via Skype between April 7 and April 14, 2015 in Foresthaven, Maclean, NSW. Caresse Cranwell helped us realize the importance of connecting with oneself in order to bring ones gifts into the world to create change. Tristan Snell helped us think about the currently atomized view of the self and how this contributes to these issues. Ruth Rosenheck helped us see the advantages of an online format, as well as the deep importance of validating action in and of itself as meaningful, despite the outcome. Niki Harre helped us clarify that young adults were a valuable and underserved audience to write for.
Additionally, we would like to thank Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone for being such amazingly inspirational communicators of the ‘work that reconnects’ and allowing us to stand on their shoulders. Their book Active Hope (2012) is an important influence on this toolkit. Additionally, thank you to Michael Meade for allowing us to share his perspective on joy and his enlightening mythological knowledge. Eshana is particularly grateful for her mentors in process and facilitation of: deep ecology / ecopsychology, John Seed and Joanna Macy; atmospheres of ‘joyality’, Prana Rose Meiss and Elana DeVeaux; and fun, creative, empowerment for practical action, Peter Cuming and Robin Clayfield.
We would also like to thank Rita Gyoffry, Bahadur Bryson, Kaia Roman, Mira Jordan and her friends at Kindred Youth for their encouraging, thoughtful and exceedingly helpful feedback on our website.
 Background Sources

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